The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Sports

July 2, 2013

Venezuela eyed as Snowden seeks asylum

(Continued)

"Who must protect Snowden? This is the question. This young man of 29 was brave enough to say that we need to protect the world from the American imperial elite, so who should protect him?" Maduro said in response to a question from journalists covering a ceremony to rename a Moscow street after Chavez. "All of mankind, people all over the world must protect him."

Maduro was scheduled to spend Wednesday in neighboring Belarus before returning to Venezuela.

Snowden, who recently turned 30, withdrew a bid for asylum in Russia when he learned the terms Moscow had set out, according to Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov. Putin said on Monday that Russia was ready to shelter Snowden as long as he stopped leaking U.S. secrets.

At the same time, Putin said he had no plans to turn over Snowden to the United States.

Snowden has applied for asylum in Venezuela, Bolivia and 18 other countries, according to WikiLeaks, a secret spilling website that has been advising him. Many European countries on the list — including Austria, Finland, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain and Switzerland — said he would have to make his request on their soil.

Polish Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski, whose consent for asylum would be required, said in a message posted on Twitter that he would not grant the request. Germany's Interior Ministry specifically ruled it out too, saying that "the conditions to take him in are not there."

WikiLeaks said requests have also been made to Brazil, China, Cuba, Ecuador, France, Iceland, India, Italy and Nicaragua.

India's External Affairs Ministry spokesman Syed Akbaruddin said Delhi has carefully examined the asylum request and decided to turn it down. And Brazil's Foreign Ministry spokesman Tovar da Silva Nunes said the government "does not plan to respond" to the asylum request.

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